MOGADISHU, Somalia — UNICEF has issued an emergency call for action to help save 200,000 children suffering from malnutrition in Somalia. The organization predicts that without necessary funding, these children under the age of five may not live past the end of this year.
Three million people are coping with malnutrition in Somalia, 50,000 of whom are children. That number will quadruple by the end of the year.
In Somalia, UNICEF requires $150 million to sustain health services and initiatives. Of this number, the organization currently only has $15 million. If the organization cannot obtain the remainder of this money, UNICEF will have to discontinue their health services in Somalia, possibly in the next month.
“If funding is not received immediately, UNICEF will have to suspend essential life-saving health services within one month,” UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac said. “Somalia has 200,000 children under the age of five at risk of death [by]the end of the year 2014 from severe malnutrition if they do not receive life saving therapeutic assistance.”
UNICEF provides 70 percent of Somalia’s health services, including medications, vaccinations, staff salaries and fuel to sustain hospitals. Because of Somalia’s large dependence on the organization, the population faces the threat of poor nutrition if health services are no longer offered. The Somalian government and private agencies cannot afford to sustain the health services needed to correct the large problem of malnutrition in Somalia.
Malnutrition is a very common effect of poverty. Eighty-two percent of Somali citizens are considered poor; this number is exceptionally high, indicating why so many people are suffering from inadequate nutrition in this country.
Aside from the fear of losing many children to malnutrition in Somalia, many people around the world are afraid that this lack of health care will create chaos within the country. In the past, Somalia has had problems with Muslim extremists and people fear that those problems will reappear. Instability in Somalia could create even more difficulties for a country that is already struggling.
Sources: Catholic Online, Medical Daily, Reuters, UNDP